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Infertility advocates take on Washington, D.C....and find their voice along the way. 

Posted by: Barbara Collura at May 15, 2013 
Category: Federal and State legislation 

 
New York Advocates in Senator Kirsten
Gillibrand's Office
 
U.S. Representative Larsen with all of RESOLVE's Advocacy Day Participants.
 
Risa Levine, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Jane Castanias and Barbara Collura

The largest group of infertility advocates in RESOLVE’s history came together in Washington, D.C. last week to bring a unified message to Members of Congress. We asked for their support on two important pieces of legislation that will bring the infertility community financial relief for IVF treatments and fertility preservation through a tax credit and access to family building options including IVF for our wounded veterans. Read more about these two important bills.

Throughout the day I heard so many stories about what motivated people to come to Advocacy Day. But when the day was over, it was clear that we all felt the same sense of pride for what had been accomplished. In just 10 (fast moving) hours, more than 120 infertility advocates from 21 different states (and Washington, D.C.) met with 49 Senators and 51 Representatives totaling 100 scheduled meetings!  And we learned that many advocates had on-the-spot meetings with Representatives from their state increasing our impact even more.

I’m still overwhelmed with emotion thinking about the commitment our advocates made to travel to Washington, D.C. and to stand up for our community. As I looked around the room during the morning training, I could feel the nervousness of the crowd. I can’t blame them. We were asking them to do a big job…talk to elected officials and their staff about something that is so deeply personal. But I am proud to say that at the end of the day, at our wrap-up gathering, the mood had changed. We were a group of empowered women and men. Our excitement of the day could not be contained—we were even told we needed to quiet down by several Congressional offices as our excitement spilled over into the hallways of Congress!

 “After I stopped trying to conceive last year I have been slowly healing and coming to terms with the profound, lasting impact infertility will have in my life.  Going to D.C. to advocate for the infertility community helped me to heal those broken pieces.  As I got on the train back to New York that night, I felt a little more whole.” –  Casey Berna- Chances Our

Advocacy Day helps our community lay the groundwork for the year-long commitment to making sure our Members of Congress pay attention to our issues. Just because the day is over, does not mean our messaging stops. We want to see these bills become law. We want Congress to realize that issues that are important to people living with infertility should be important to them as well.

Advocating for our issues is an important part of living with  infertility. RESOLVE exists to make that process  easy and accessible so that anyone can be  an advocate in this community. 

Thank you to all who attended Advocacy Day!  Thank you to our sponsors, EMD Serono, Optum Health and Teva Women’s Health. Thank you to all who wanted to be there, but could not, and to those who have already promised to be there next year. 

I want to remind you that being an advocate is not just one day, or sending one email, or making one phone call  It’s a commitment to staying connected to our issues and being a part of a movement to educate our lawmakers. I promise RESOLVE will be there with you and advocate with you. RESOLVE is only as strong as our collective voices allow us to be. 

And to our Advocacy Day Chair (for 5 YEARS!), Risa Levine, “thank you” does not even put into words the gratitude that  I, the RESOLVE Board and staff, and the hundreds of advocates you have motivated  during your tenure as Advocacy Day Chair, have for your hard work and commitment to this community. You are one of our fiercest advocates. Thank you for your leadership.

Want to read more? Hear about the day from those who were there…check out these blogs about Advocacy Day:

What you can do TODAY

Barbara Collura is the President/CEO for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. She can be reached at bcollura@resolve.org or 703.556.7172.

 

 

 

 

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